BRAXTON MOORE ’19 | NEWS EDITOR • Wabash College and the greater Crawfordsville community will be enjoying the addition of new community parks and city improvement in the near future, with the hope that such added amenities will help spark a new, invigorated interest in the city among residents and Wabash students alike. According to the plan proposed by Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton ‘00, improvements will include a variety of areas for recreational activity which will be made available to the residents of the city and students of the college.
“We have laid out a series of projects designed to enhance the quality of life in our community,” Barton said. “These projects are meant to stimulate more activity within the community, with the driving goal behind the proposal focusing on keeping young people and professionals within the Crawfordsville community.
We know that people expect to see certain things in a community of this size, and that’s what we hope to accomplish with this upcoming community project.”
The beautification plans will take place due to the Stellar Community Grant, which determines exemplary communities within the state and allocates funds to the betterment of said towns and cities. The projects proposed by the city include a walking trail that will replace the railroad tracks on the south side of campus, a community experimental theater, a complete overhaul renovation of the PNC building in the downtown area, as well as an assortment of pocket parks, picnic shelters, and community gathering spots.
The plan of the city is to ultimately better conjoin Wabash College with the city of Crawfordsville more effectively, and Barton hopes that the addition of these features and improvements to the community will persuade more young people to stay in Crawfordsville.
“The trail will run just south of campus by the Fine Arts building,” Barton said. “After seeing the plans for the trail, and the path that the loop will take around the downtown, I think the trail will be a good addition to the city. This trail will better tie the campus with the downtown area, and the two areas of the community should feel like they are connected.”
Barton also talked about stimulating the Crawfordsville community, with a primary focus on
the downtown area, by encouraging new small business startups and investment ventures. In addition to opening new institutions downtown, Barton also wants to shift focus onto the already existing shops, restaurants, and businesses in order to spark the Crawfordsville economy.
“In our downtown right now, there are only a few vacancies,” Barton said. “Other than that, it’s fairly full. We have all this interest from investors saying that they would like to come to Crawfordsville to invest, so we want to stimulate the downtown area as much as possible so we can make that happen, that’s where we want to be as a city.”
The project is currently set to break ground during the spring of 2018, starting with two
new parks in the downtown area: Pike Place, on the corner of Pike and Washington Street, and on South Washington, where the railroad line crosses Highway 231. The trail is second on the to-do list, pending contractual agreement and negotiations with the CSX Railroad company. Barton expressed his excitement on the prospect of beginning these projects in the coming spring season, and further emphasized the importance of these community improvements to the city of Crawfordsville.
“We want to tie all of the community together,” Barton said. “With the addition of these trails and parks, as well as the repurposing of the PNC building, we should see the campus and the downtown, as well as the community better unified.”